Coffee Shop is closed and they can no longer go to Bed (what’s the point without Samantha, anyway?), but the characters of “Sex and the City” are still swapping puns across the tables of New York restaurants
There was a time long ago when gargantuan tour buses — splashed with pink and stock images of girlfriends sipping on cocktails — roved the isle of Manhattan. They transported women, mostly; huddled masses from across the middle America, all yearning to breathe free and drink a cosmopolitan cocktail at the same bars frequented by Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte, the characters of HBO’s Sex and the City.
But much like the once ubiquitous “going out” top, such tours have become a rare (albeit ongoing) sight. Many of the restaurants featured on the original show, which ran from 1998 to 2004 and somehow never addressed 9/11, have long been closed. The women’s favorite hangout, Coffee Shop in Union Square, closed in 2018 and has been replaced by a Chase bank. City Bakery, where Carrie re-encounters “the face girl” Nina Katz, has also permanently closed its doors, denying the city its top-rate chocolate chip cookies.
The New York we enter in And Just Like That…, the Sex and the City reboot on HBO Max, is not the New York we left in 2004. We’ve experienced hurricanes, market crashes, and a deadly pandemic that we’re still contending with. The lavish lifestyle demonstrated by the series’ main ladies has taken on a grotesqueness, especially following the Trump presidency, which further laid bare the inequities inherent in capitalism. Bisexuality can no longer be written off, as Carrie once did, as a “layover to Gaytown.”
But still, there are bars and restaurants. Bars and restaurants on the brink of doom, sure, but they’re hanging on all the same. No pandemic or death of a loved one by Peleton (for the best, it seems) will stop Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte — sans Samantha, as actor Kim Cattrall who declined to return to the series due to friction with lead and executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker — from dining across the city.
Want to pretend like it’s 2004 again? Well, throw on some low-rise jeans and Manolos and hit the town (masked and boosted, or better yet, maybe just in your imagination). Here, we’ll be charting every restaurant, bar, and cafe that makes a featured appearance on And Just Like That… for your touring convenience. Obviously, there will be some spoilers.
Episode One, “Hello It’s Me”
This premiere was obviously dominated by one major controversy, which has little to do with food and that’s Carrie not attempting CPR or calling 911 as Big flopped around on the floor of their gigantic shower and died.
Clee, a.k.a the Whitney Cafe, 99 Gansevoort Street
But before that, there are some restaurants. In fact, we’re reintroduced to Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte as they wait for a table at Clee, a fictional restaurant that was filmed in non-fictional restaurant the Whitney Cafe, part of the Whitney Museum. The real star of this meal is Carrie’s stupid little Robin Hood hat, which she is not pulling off nearly as well as that sexy cartoon fox. Also, great news! In this alternate reality, COVID is over. How nice for them, their fellow patrons, and the staff of “Clee.”
Smith’s Bar and Grill, 701 8th Avenue
Before her first class at Columbia where she’s enrolled to get her master’s degree in “Human Rights,” Miranda stops for a drink at this theater district mainstay and while she’s there, we’re introduced to an exciting new character: Miranda’s Alcoholism! She tries to order a glass of chablis at 10:45 a.m., which, yes, is pretty early for wine, but more concerning is why she’d stop at a bar on 8th and West 44th Street, which is nowhere near her townhouse in Brooklyn or Columbia University, which is all the way up on West 114th Street.
In Manhattan, there are plenty of bars to get lost in and most of them, fortunately, are not next to Times Square.
Episode Two, “Little Black Dress”
This episode is mostly taken up by Big’s ugly and sparse funeral at the Greene Naftali Gallery and not so much on the streets of New York City, which, as everyone knows, is the show’s other leading lady.
Carrie does however stare wistfully at a couple eating on the patio of the East Pole, located on the Upper East Side. The couple remind her of her and Big, because the woman is blonde and the man has dark hair and is wearing an expensive suit. Understandably, this makes grieving Carrie sad, but she shouldn’t be. As far as she knows, that guy works for the Blackstone Group or makes his money developing property that displaces poor people. Maybe Big did that, too. Anyway, lunch looked nice and we’ll be revisiting the East Pole later.
Episode Three, “When in Rome…”
Did you know that even Charlotte’s best friend Anthony got into sourdough during the pandemic? Only he turned it into a bustling business called Hot Fellas (did the writers even try on this one?), where the bread is delivered by… hot fellas. This scene is largely marked by Anthony’s dismissal of Charlotte’s child’s trans identity, stating that kids are confused and Charlotte should ignore it. Good to know that, in addition to making bread, he’s up to date on Jesse Singal’s Substack.
Anyway, I will not be ordering my bread from Hot Fellas in the future.
The East Pole, 133 East 65th Street
I had to send a lot of screenshots of this dining room where Charlotte, Miranda, Carrie, and Stanford gathered for lunch in order to identify the restaurant even though, as noted above, the show has already visited the exterior. Thankfully, Eater NY’s Bao Ong came to my rescue, even providing the following Instagram from the restaurant:
More fun than the restaurant itself, though, is Stanford (played by the late Willie Garson) telling Charlotte that he used to work at the iconic Tribeca bistro Odeon, and that’s how he knows a three-top can always become a four-top. Many servers will disagree!
Starbucks, 72 Spring Street
Charlotte, Miranda, and Miranda’s many bottles of airport cart Tito’s wait for Carrie at this Starbucks in SoHo, right across the street from Balthazar (once featured in Sex and the City under the name Balzac). In a TV series full of necessary belief-suspension, this one will put you over the edge because that Starbucks location has never had less than 700 people stuffed into it at one time, and that’s an official statistic. Also the barista brings Miranda a muffin to her table and it’s even on a plate. In real life, the overworked barista would have shouted “MORGANDA?” and hurled it at her from the register.
Chalait UWS, 461 Amsterdam Avenue
It’s at Chalait, a cafe specializing in matcha drinks, that Carrie is finally able to corner Big’s ex-wife Natasha by accidentally walking in on her while she’s trying to take a piss in peace, but with the door puzzlingly unlocked. (What’s unbelievable here is that there’s a New York coffee shop where you don’t need a special code or key to get into the bathroom.) In the fumble to close the door, Carrie spills hot coffee and burns herself, so maybe Chalait is actually good…
Maybe the bar at Webster Hall?, 125 East 11 Street
Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda go to see Carrie’s colleague Che shoot their standup special at venue Webster Hall. Afterward, Miranda, her sexuality re-awakened by Che’s wit, sticks around for the afterparty. Che, not disinterested, shotguns a mouthful of weed vape into Miranda’s mouth. DeBlasio’s New York, baby!
To be honest, I do not know if this was actually shot at the bar in Webster Hall or if it’s somewhere else. Do you know? If yes or you have other And Just Like That… restaurant and bar location info, email me at email@example.com. If not, please do not email me in general.
We’ll be back with more restaurants and bars from episode four.